Stay Connected: A secure way to maintain your emergency contact information is to enroll with Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Your information is stored securely and enables the Department of State, U.S. embassy, or consulate to contact you, your family, or your friends in an emergency according to your wishes.
Health Information: Healthcare tops the list of concerns for many older U.S. citizens who are thinking about traveling abroad. Consult with your physician prior to your travel overseas to identify your healthcare needs at your destination. Research the environmental conditions at your overseas destination that may contribute to your specific health concerns, particularly if you are sensitive to altitude, air pollution, humidity, or other conditions, including availability and standards of care. For more tips related to health issues visit our website. You may also find health information at the Travelers’ Health page of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
Medical Insurance Beyond Medicare: Medicare, the U.S. government health plan for people aged 65years and older, does not cover healthcare overseas. We highly recommend that you obtain health insurance to cover emergency medical and dental treatment and for medical evacuation to the United States. Many companies offer short-term health and emergency assistance policies to cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
Pharmacies and Medications: If you routinely take prescription medication, be sure to include an ample supply for your trip, adjust your medication schedule as you cross time zones. Carry a letter from your doctor describing your conditions and the medication you require. To avoid problems at customs or immigration, keep medications in their original, labeled containers. Please be sure to ask your physician and pharmacist for the generic or chemical name of your medication. Drug names differ in many countries, and pharmacists and physicians abroad are more likely to be familiar with this name. Check with the Embassy or Consulate of the country you plan to visit to ensure that your medications are not considered illegal substances under local laws.
Research Accessibility and Accommodations: If you have mobility difficulties or use a wheelchair, determine what the access is to areas such as swimming pools, public facilities, restaurants, bars, toilets, etc. Determine if shopping and entertainment are accessible. For more information, check the State Department’s section on Traveling with Disabilities.
Beware of Scams: Scammers intend to get money from their victims by making the victims believe they will gain something of great personal value (financial gain, a romantic relationship, helping someone in trouble, the safe return of a friend, etc.). Scammers operate primarily via the Internet, email, and phone. For more information, please review the State Department’s information on International Financial Scams. Information on scams common in your destination country can also be found in each country’s Country Specific Information.
Prepare for Emergencies: Leave emergency contact information and a copy of your passport biographic data page with family and trusted friends. Carry emergency contact information for your family in the United States with you when you travel (be sure to also pencil it in the emergency contact information section of your passport). Know the contact information for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, and provide that information to your family and friends. If there is an emergency situation where you are staying, such as civil unrest, disrupted transportation, or a natural disaster, prevent undue worry or concern by contacting your family and friends as soon as possible. One sure way to ruin your travel is to lose money because an emergency has forced you to postpone or cancel your trip. Take careful note of the cancellation policies for your travel and consider purchasing travel and luggage insurance. Many credit card, travel and tourism companies offer protection packages for an additional fee.
Additional information can be found at the State Department site.